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Increasing choice or inequality? Pathways through early education in Andhra Pradesh, India

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Working Paper No. 58, Studies in Early Childhood Transitions
Streuli, Natalia; Vennam, Uma & Woodhead, Martin
Publication Date: 
1 Jun 2011

This working paper is part of the Studies in Early Transitions series emerging from Young Lives, a  15-year longitudinal study of childhood poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. It explores recent trends for children growing up in Andhra Pradesh, one of India's most populous states, based on Young Lives survey data collected for a sample of 1950 young children born in 2001 plus in-depth qualitative research.

The paper discusses how poverty levels and location are strongly predictive of whether children attend government or private pre-school. It highlights policy challenges stemming from weak governance of the pre-school sector, notably how the relatively-unregulated and rapidly-growing private sector offers to initiate children into formal learning, in English, from a much earlier age than normally considered to be developmentally appropriate. And it identifies how government provision could be improved and strengthened.